Sorry I haven't written in a while. Being on vacation has its ups and downs. While I enjoy not being cramped in my tiny apartment and not having to pay for stuff, I don't enjoy not being able to use a computer at all. Thus, I haven't been able to write, which is probably for the best. I don't think I could have been very rational after the endings of Games 3, 4, or 5. And the recent events of Testicle Gate leave me searching for the right words as well. Still, I shall attempt below to form some composed thoughts on the proceedings thus far and offer a humble look ahead to Game 6. When I posted my cheery "It's over" post after Game 1, I failed to account for a few things. Remember, I'm not the engineer here. Still, here are the top three ooopsies I can think of.
1) The death or Robert Horry. What the hell happened to this guy? I didn't think anything of it when he sucked in the regular season, because he's always sucked in the regular season. But how could he have deteriorated so badly in one year? All of a sudden Horry can't shoot, can't get open, can't rebound, can't guard anyone - I mean, I'm dumbstruck by it. He's gone from being our number one secret weapon off the bench to being the 8th man, getting less minutes than Rumble.
When I gave my ringing endorsement to Small-Ball after Game 1, I always assumed that it'd be with Horry serving as the "small" PF, not Fin or Bones. Having four actual smalls changes the equation considerably, but I can't really blame Pop for it; Horry's been awful. Maybe starting for a few games threw off his whole rhythm as bench guy extraordinaire, but even going back to his reserve role hasn't woken him up. Methinks we shoulda let him go to Dallas in the off-season.
2) AJ is smarter than I gave him credit for. The insertion of Harris into the starting lineup has been a master stroke. We don't really have anyone who can guard him except Bruce, and Bruce is preoccupied with Ze German, or The Big Bug. Still, I can't get over the feeling that if we played with both Timmeh and The Steady Slovenian and went under ever screen, we could totally neutralize this guy. Sure, Dirk might score 60, but we'd totally shut Harris down. This whole paragraph sounded smarter in my head.
3) My never-ending frustration with The Wee Rapping Frenchman. I think Matthew has been too kind in his recent assessment of Parker's play. Maybe he's sympathetic to Tony's injuries, I don't really know. But the PG I've seen has a woeful 14 assists in five games this series, to go with 18 turnovers. And while he scored 60 points the last two games, it did take him 47 shots to do so. Against Dallas he is shooting 44% from the field and 69% from the line. Hardly otherworldly.
I know Pop wants Tony to force the issue early because his injuries limit his effectiveness as the games go on, so Parker will be jacking up a lot of shots in the 1st quarter, but what I don't understand is why Tony refuses to adapt to what his body is trying to tell him. If he's too sore to run and jump in the second half, then he should PASS THE BALL instead of forcing up a lay-up with Diop or Dampier waiting there for him. He has made some horrific decisions in the second halves of games, and even Pop called him out about it during the press conference after Game 5. The sad reality is that we need him to play 40+ minutes because Rumble has been simply atrocious (although less so on Monday).
The other thing I don't understand is why Pop refuses to give the ball to Manu at the end of quarters 1-3 like he did last year. I can't think of a single time this playoffs that Parker at the top of the key with the shot clock turned off has turned into a positive play for us. He's always covered, he always shoots, he never ever scores. It drives me insane that Pop waits until the 4th quarter to give Manu some intimate one on one time with the ball. Perhaps if he did it earlier, the games wouldn't be so close at the end, hmmm?
As for Game 6, what I think they should do and what they will do are very different. I think the absence of Terry changes everything and now would be a perfect time to insert Rasho into the lineup, play a little 2-3 matchup zone, and totally deny them penetration. They only have two shooters now, Dirk and Stack. We should exploit that. Plus `Sho could set some motherfuckin' screens for Manu, and still leave The Sickness with Timmeh as an option to dish it to.
Oh and also, play Beno instead of Rumble. Duh.
And give the ball to Manu more, Tony less. Double duh.
What THEY WILL do is probably more of the same. More midget ball, more hoping and praying for us to get a defensive stop, a position I've never really been in before as a Spurs fan. More screaming and yelling at our point guard to not give a national audience a Starbury impersonation. More of `Sho watching the game impassively, never discarding his warm-ups. Sigh.
I'll write later after the game. Good luck to us all. I apologize for the lack of humor here but I offer three excuses...
1) I had to write this quickly
2) This is a very serious time
3) I was never really funny anyway.